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    Program Notes and History

    Available Funding

    The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is scheduled to receive approximately $1 million per year from Fiscal Year 2005 through Fiscal Year 2009 for Safe Routes To School projects.  This estimate may vary due to constraints Congress places on Federal budgets.

    The maximum amount any one applicant can request is $200,000.00

    Project Selection

    Applicants will submit the applications to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department by the published deadline.  Staff will review all applications to determine if they are eligible and complete.  Complete applications for eligible programs/projects will be transmitted to the Arkansas Safe Routes To School Advisory Committee.  This group has membership representing the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, the Arkansas Municipal League, Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, one of Arkansas’ eight planning and development districts, the Arkansas Safe Schools Association, the Arkansas Association of School Administrators and the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

    The Arkansas Safe Routes To School Advisory Committee will rate each application based on the point system as indicated in the application.  They will develop a list of projects recommended for funding.  The list will be presented to the Arkansas Highway Commission for their consideration.  Projects approved by the Commission will be forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration with a request for concurrence.

    Upon Federal Highway Administration’s approval, all applicants will be notified and project sponsors will be invited to a Safe Routes To School Project Administration Workshop.

    Engineering / Consultant Services

    The Options for engineering services to development of plans and construction specifications are;

    Option 1  Use AHTD on call engineering services
    One of the Department’s on call consultants will be assigned to the project at no cost to the Sponsor.

    Option 2  Procure engineering services using the AHTD approved consultant Local Agency Consultant Selection Procedures.

    A maximum of 15% of the awarded funding will be reimbursable for engineering services.

    The selected Consultant must submit an audit report including a report on internal control and compliance accompanied by the Contractor’s Certification of Final Indirect Costs as required by FHWA Order 4470.1A.  The report shall meet the reporting guidelines provided in the applicable financial audit standards sections of the General Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), and shall include positive assurance that all costs included in the recommended rate are allowed by 48 CFR Part 31.  Firms whose audits have been conducted by an independent CPA are also required to submit a letter of cognizant approval from a cognizant State or Federal Agency in their home State if available.  An indirect cost rate, set by the audit, must be approved by the AHTD prior to executing the contract.

    Option 3  Procure engineering services (without using the AHTD consultant selection procedure).
    Cost for engineering services will not be reimbursable.

    Option 4  Use your own in house services (example: city engineer)
    Cost for engineering services will not be reimbursable.

    Americans With Disabilities Act Compliance

    All Safe Routes To School projects will be compliant with standards for barrier free access developed as a result of the Federal Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990   An excellent resource for information regarding these standards is the United States Department of Justice’s web site: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm .

    There may be individual cases where exceptions to this requirement will be necessary.  Such exceptions will be granted in writing on a case by case basis by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

    Projects constructed out of the Federal Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 compliance and without a written exception will not be eligible for reimbursement.

    The Five E's

    Each application for Safe Routes To School funding will be evaluated by how well it addresses each of the five E's: education, enforcement, engineering, encouragement, and evaluation.

    Education
    Teaching children, and through them, their parents, about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills, and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.

    Enforcement
    Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.

    Engineering
    Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.

    Encouragement
    Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling.

    Evaluation
    Monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data, including the collection of data before and after the intervention(s).

    Right-Of-Way

    Access to right-of-way for Safe Routes To School infrastructure projects must be obtained by the applicant without the use of Safe Routes To School funding.  This can be in the form of fee-simple ownership or a long-term, 25-year or greater, easement or lease.

    In some cases along Arkansas highways, right-of-way owned and managed by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department may be available for these projects.  If so, a permit to use this property must be obtained from your local Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department District Office.  To determine the name, location, and phone number of your District Permit Officer, call 501-569-2000.  Early coordination, prior to submitting your application, is a necessity.

    Maintenance

    Safe Routes To School infrastructure project maintenance is the responsibility of the applicant.  Applicants can enter into cooperative agreements with other entities to perform required maintenance.  A copy of any such agreement must be submitted with the project application.

    History and Background

    Although new to Arkansas, people in other states and countries are well aware of the Safe Routes To School Program.

    Research on the safety of children walking and bicycling to school began in the United States in the early 1970s and was highlighted by release of the United States Department of Transportation publication “School Trip Safety and Urban Play Areas” in 1975.  The term “Safe Routes To School” was first used in Denmark in the late 1970s as part of a very successful initiative to reduce the number of children killed while walking and bicycling to school.  Safe Routes To School spread internationally, with programs springing up throughout Europe and in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

    The first modern Safe Routes To School Program in the United States began in 1997 in Bronx, New York.  In 1998, Congress funded two pilot Safe Routes To School Programs through the United States Department of Transportation.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued $50,000 each for Safe Routes To School pilot programs in Marin County, California and Arlington, Massachusetts.  Within a year after the launch of the pilot programs, many other grassroots Safe Routes To School efforts were started throughout the United States.

    As word spread in the pedestrian and bicyclist community of success with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pilot programs, interest in a broader program grew.  Efforts to include a larger Safe Routes To School Program in Federal legislation began in earnest in 2002.  In 2003, the League of American Bicyclists organized the first meeting of leaders in pedestrian and bicycle issues to talk about Safe Routes To School issues and how a national program might work.  At the same time, a number of states were developing their own Safe Routes To School Programs, continuing to build momentum for the movement.

    In July 2005, Congress passed Federal legislation that established a National Safe Routes To School Program.  The program, which was signed into law in August 2005, dedicates a total of $612 million to the Safe Routes To School Program from 2005 to 2009.  The Federal Highway Administration administers the Safe Routes To School Program funds and provides guidance and regulations about Safe Routes To School Programs.  Federal Safe Routes To School funds will be distributed to states based on student enrollment, with no state receiving less than $1 million per year.  Safe Routes To School funds can be used for both infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities.  The legislation also requires each state to have a Safe Routes To School Coordinator to serve as a central point of contact for the state.

    With the National Safe Routes To School Program, there will be a significant increase in funds and institutional support to implement Safe Routes To School Programs in states and communities across the country.  So a new chapter in the history of Safe Routes To School Programs might soon be written as the benefits of communities and states establishing and advancing Safe Routes Programs and issues are learned.

     

     

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